June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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86 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 in the image needs its own screen and then it has to be set up and registered. Printing is steady paced and production heavy, and once you're done, you're left with a lot of ink and screen cleanup. Depending on the print job, you may also have to reclaim the screen. However, little is involved with di- rect-to-garment printing. Simply make the artwork around 300 dpi and use a transpar- ent background for dark garments. Clean the print heads, check the nozzles, and you're ready to print. After printing, most printers require you to clean the capping station and encoder strip. Then, you're done. This should take about five minutes. THE CONS First, you need a business plan that out- lines how to make a return on investment quickly. Test the waters in advance to understand your potential market. Don't be easily seduced by the ease of direct-to-garment printing when you first see it in action. If you don't first have a plan, this investment could turn into a huge mistake. Understand that a direct-to-garment printer is a professional piece of equip- ment, not a hobby machine. When all is said and done, expect to pay close to $20,000 or more. Some machines are cheaper, but do your research. Buying solely on price could be a mistake in the long run and require more work than expected. Start by looking at T-shirt forums and visit a trade show to see each ma- chine in action. Take this opportunity DTG PROS & CONS Above: When considering the pur- chase of a direct-to-garment print- er, know that there is more cost involved than just the printer itself. Below: Unlike screen printing, di- rect-to-garment prints are quickly and easily set up, which makes them great for samples, or single shirt production.

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